Book Review | Mating for Life
*I received a copy of this book for review, but was not compensated financially in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based solely on my experiences while reading this book.*
Title: Mating for Life: A Novel
Author: Marissa Stapley
About the Book:
With pitch-perfect honesty and heartwarming humor, this captivating debut explores marriage, motherhood, identity, and what it takes to love someone—family members, friends, or spouses—for life.
Former folk singer Helen Sear was a feminist wild child who proudly disdained monogamy, raising three daughters—each by a different father—largely on her own. Now in her sixties, Helen has fallen in love with a traditional man who desperately wants to marry her. And while she fears losing him, she’s equally afraid of abandoning everything she’s ever stood for if she goes through with it.
Meanwhile, Helen’s youngest daughter, Liane, is in the heady early days of a relationship with her soul mate. But he has an ex-wife and two kids, and her new role as a “step-something” doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Ilsa, an artist, has put her bohemian past behind her and is fervently hoping her second marriage will stick. Yet her world feels like it is slowly shrinking, and her painting is suffering as a result—and she realizes she may need to break free again, even if it means disrupting the lives of her two young children. And then there’s Fiona, the eldest sister, who has worked tirelessly to make her world pristine, yet who still doesn’t feel at peace. When she discovers her husband has been harboring a huge secret, Fiona loses her tenuous grip on happiness and is forced to face some truths about herself that she’d rather keep buried.
Interweaving the alternating perspectives of Helen, her daughters, and the women surrounding them, “each new chapter brings a wise and tender look at single life, dating rituals, and marital unease” (New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Close). In this “absolute feat of storytelling” (bestselling author Grace O’Connell), Marissa Stapley celebrates the many roles modern women play, and shows that even though happy endings aren’t one-size-fits-all, some loves really can last for life.
Mating for Life was an addicting read. I would say that this book is more about the characters versus the storyline. The storyline IS the characters. It’s like I had my own private view into their personal lives including their thoughts, feelings, fears, relationships and motivations. I wasn’t sure about the book when I read the description, but something inside me said to give it a chance. I’m so glad I listened because I adored Mating for Life. It’s going on my list of books you need to read!
There are quite a few characters in this book. We meet Helen Sear and her three daughters, Fiona, Ilsa and Liane. I would consider them the main characters of the book. There’s a few chapters told in other minor characters points of view, but they all tie together in how they relate to the main characters’ lives and personal relationships.
I loved that the characters were offbeat and real. I could picture them completely in my mind in how they looked and acted. I felt bad for Liane who was so insecure and Fiona annoyed me a little with how rigid and set in her ways she was. I liked Ilsa and could understand how she would do some of the things she does in the book. The author conveyed her emotions and motivations for her decisions in a way that I could relate to. I didn’t agree with some of the things the characters did, but that didn’t make me not like them. In fact, it made them seem more human and believable as we all make mistakes.
The book has a few different settings- Toronto, Rye, NY and Muskoka. I loved reading the scenes at the cottage in Muskoka. I’ve been there years and years ago and it is beautiful cottage country. I could see the setting in my mind and it made me long for lazy summer days.
Mating for Life would be a great book to bring to the cottage this summer or to the beach. It’s one that left an impression on me and that I really can’t think of anything negative to say about it except that I wish it didn’t have to end!